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After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" (Revelation 7:9-10)

The great multitude is a host of overcomers.  They've done it.  They triumphed.  They finished the race. They faced hunger and thirst and heat and tears (v. 16), but they did not curse God. They did not bail. They did not compromise.  They held fast to word of God and the testimony of Jesus.  They proved to be more than conquerors through him who loved us.

They also prove to be a colorful bunch. This is not a vanilla multitude. When we get to heaven we will be pleased to find a vast array of people that do not look like us. There are going to be millions of Africans in that great multitude and plenty of Brazilians and Chinese and Filipinos, and lots of Mexicans and Indians and Arabs, and there will be some white people too.  And if you think it is great to sing your favorite hymn in English, it's going to be even better when you get to hear it in Shona and Swedish and Swahili. You'll thrill to hear praise in Fang and French and Finnish, and rejoice to see the throng spill out their songs in German and Japanese and Hausa and Hungarian and Quechuan and Kazakh and Korean. Heaven will be diversity without the political correctness and multi-culturalism unified in one single purpose. Every heart, every head, every voice giving glory to God and to the Lamb.

Revelation 7 is the final fulfillment of the promise to made to Abraham to multiply his offspring and make him a great nation. God's plan has always been for more than ethnic Israel, more than Europe, more than the West. His plan has been to make a people for himself from every nation and tribe. God loves to be praised in white churches and African American churches and Russian churches and by every other congregation that calls on the name of his Son.

How sweet it will be when all our churches can sing together. Let us pursue now what we will enjoy in glory then. For what started with one man, called out of paganism, and joined to his barren wife, will one day come to culmination on the other side of the seven seals with a vast array of singing saints more numerous than the sand on the seashore.

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8 thoughts on “A Great Multitude and a Great Hope”

  1. anonymous says:

    “Let us pursue now what we will enjoy in glory then.“

    the kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst. Luke 20b-21

  2. Flyaway says:

    Reminds me of the time we were in Mexico and a baptism was taking place at the beach. The congregation was singing “Because He LIves” in Spanish. I knew the words in English and could sing along with them.

  3. Matt Gladd says:

    Amen. Thanks.

    Kevin, would you by any chance be willing to write on the subject of God’s sovereignty in regeneration? I’ve found there is a great number of evangelical Christians today who are more apt to attribute their salvation not to what God has objectively done in Jesus Christ and not to what the Holy Spirit working on and in the heart of the sinner, but to the subjective choosing to follow Jesus commonly labeled today as a decision wherein one says a type of special prayer as opposed to believing in the one true Gospel and understanding that even faith itself is a gift by God’s grace. I’ve noticed this issue in a number of churches and you are good writer and are good at addressing issues like this, so I thought you might take a blog request. Thanks.



  4. Rick Phillips says:

    Great stuff, Kevin. Thanks.

  5. Joshua Brown says:

    This has always been a favorite passage and vision of mine. Thanks for the reflection! I quoted part of this post on my own recent one, and look forward to the day when we see it fulfilled.

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Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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